UNC begins new six-year integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency program

In 2010, the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will begin a new six-year integrated residency program, which residents will enter directly from medical school.

The Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery, the national residency accrediting body, approved the program in July 2009. Students at North American medical schools may now apply for the program through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), for a residency position to begin July 1, 2010.  UNC is one of just a few institutions in the United States that offer such a program.

The curriculum includes rotations in vascular interventional radiology, endoscopy, cardiology, and endovascular surgery, and will provide residents with the background and experience using these new techniques in order to build a career as future “cardiothoracic specialists.” The program has been carefully designed to balance cardiovascular and thoracic care, and includes extensive exposure to fields relevant to thoracic surgery such as GI endoscopy, surgical oncology, and gastrointestinal (foregut) surgery. Completion of the program will lead to certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Click here to see the program

The new program will replace UNC’s traditional 3-year cardiothoracic surgery residency program and the general surgery residency that precedes it. UNC’s 3-year program will be phased out as residents in the integrated 6-year program fill the early years of the program. Michael R. Mill, M.D., is chief of the UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and is director of the residency program.

At UNC, the new program shortens the current ABTS certification process by two years. In addition, it  provides the opportunity to address the continued evolution of care in the treatment of cardiothoracic disease by modifying the traditional course of cardiothoracic surgical education. All aspects of the new curriculum are based on proven models of education currently available at the University of North Carolina. The curriculum preserves the significant contribution of general surgery and vascular surgery training to the development of a well-rounded cardiothoracic surgeon.

UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery faculty believe that this tightly focused, comprehensive curriculum will produce better trained cardiothoracic surgeons and will be gratifying to the resident physicians who complete the program.

The field of cardiothoracic surgery has evolved tremendously over the decades, offering patients many more options for the treatment of intra-thoracic disease. The complexity of cardiothoracic surgery has increased and it has become more dependent upon a multi-disciplinary team approach, involving primary care physicians, cardiologists, pulmonologists, anesthesiologists, intensivists, radiologists, pathologists, cardiac perfusionists, nurses, clinical coordinators, social workers, and others. Hence, the objective of this training program is to provide a more comprehensive and rational immersion in the diagnosis and management of all aspects of cardiovascular and thoracic diseases through multi-disciplinary training.

For more information on the new program, click here.